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He'll Be Defective Soon...

This morning as I went out to pick up yesterday's mail, I saw a squirrel plummet two stories from the roof of the building and land on the sidewalk about three feet away with a loud slap, like a dry towel smacking the pavement.

"Whoa!" I said to the stunned rodent. "You okay little guy?"

The squirrel shook himself off, gave me a scornful look, and ran somewhat unsteadily off across the lawn.

I looked up and saw a second squirrel on the roof, peering over, who turned and scurried off.

Being me, I immediately began constructing scenarios in my head--were they playing chicken? Had one squirrel pushed the other? Was the squirrel on the roof thinking some variation on "Oh god, oh god, what am I going to tell Mom, oh god..."

Given the capacity of wild animals to survive shocking injuries, I sort of wonder if the squirrel was really okay, or if one more Gimpy the Squirrel will appear in the next few weeks...

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Indeed. Squirrels are mostly fur by volume, and they like to live in trees. The first helps then survive long falls (air resistance), the second means they've had to evolve the ability to survive lots of falls, because the better a squiirel can survive falls, the more likely it is to beget baby squirrels.

This is the first and probably only time in my life that I have wished I am a squirrel.

Do a lot of falling out of trees, I take it? XD Or do you just wish you could beget baby squirrels? :3

Wouldn't it just promote adaptations that lead to falling out of trees less often?

That too. Evolution works in parallel. It doesn't always come to the same answers, of course, as you can tell by the existence of orang utans which, though hugely shaggy, don't have a built-in parachute of fur, and which are way too large to fall two floors without serious damage.

(Orangs don't jump, though. A behavioural adaptation.)

The best way of not falling out of trees is not to be in them in the first place, so there must be some pretty good reason why they're there. Safety from predators, and access to food, for a start.

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